Predators Staying in Nashville...For Now

Jason HackettAnalyst INovember 30, 2007 the NHL Board of Directors approved the sale of the Nashville Predators to a group of local buyers headed by David Freeman.

The sale should become official within the next few days.

I've been wary of this deal since the bid went in. My concern has nothing to do with the team staying in Nashville per se—but rather with the fact that most NHL owners look to make money every year, while the current Nashville ownership is content with breaking even.

In Nashville, that seems to be the best anybody can do.

The Predators' original owner, Craig Leipold, reportedly lost $70 million on the team. Nashville was one of the best teams in the NHL a few years back—and still couldn't make money.

How do the new owners expect to do any better—and what happens when they don't?

In a market where hockey ranks somewhere below Italian lawn bowling, how is anyone supposed to turn a profit? I've never been a fan of putting franchises in nontraditional hockey markets—and while moving the Predators to Hamilton might not have been the solution, at least the NHL could have talked about it.

Instead, we're stuck with more of the same.

You have to wonder how the new ownership will react when the team starts hemorrhaging cash. Will they dump their best players every year?

The fact of the matter is that there just isn't enough interest to keep the Predators in Nashville. The franchise will eventually move—it's just a matter of when and where.